Why 'Captain Phillips' was banned in China

Somali piracy is in the news following the release of 26 hostages after nearly 5 years of captivity. Hearing the plight of those hostages, who came from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, we’re reminded of a telling comment from a Sony Pictures executive.

President of worldwide distribution Rory Bruer wrote in a leaked email that China was unlikely to allow distribution of “Captain Phillips.” The movie tells the true story of how the US military sent multiple ships and a special operations team to recover an American held hostage by Somali pirates in 2009.

“The reality of the situation is that China will probably never clear the film for censorship,” Bruer wrote. “Reasons being the big Military machine of the U.S. saving one U.S. citizen. China would never do the same and in no way would want to promote this idea. Also just the political tone of the film is something that they would not feel comfortable with.”

“Captain Phillips” was never released in China.

Captain phillips tom hanksJasin Boland / Columbia PicturesCaptain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is escorted by Somali pirates in ‘Captain Phillips.’

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